Check out our step by step process for how we plan & prepare to remodel a room!
Fun Things First: Design Inspiration
Before we tackle a room or a project there is always a great debate on the design aspects (& I wouldn’t have it any other way). We usually start with pictures off Pinterest, or a clip from an episode of something we watched on HGTV. Then we go back and forth of things we like or dislike and how we would make it our own. We both have weird things we are particular about so it makes for an interesting process. At some point, I usually draw something that loosely resembles the room on the back of a napkin or he creates a full (and to scale) rendering in photoshop.
Functionality is Key
With our house being old & quirky we usually have some unique design challenges we have to work around (low ceilings, HVAC placement, weird angles). It is so important to look at your space and think about what the pain points in the room are. Does the detail on a piece of furniture or fixture make it a bitch to clean? Is there never enough kitchen counter space to actually prep meals? Do your knees hit the tub when you are sitting on the toilet? We can love a design all we want, but if it isn’t functional for our lifestyle it’s a hard NO.
We start our budget by making a list of everything we need, including the tiny stuff. People often forget to budget for painters tape, drywall screws, caulk, nails for the nail gun, spatulas for the drywall mud. All those little things can add up FAST. Also, don’t forget the tax & shipping expenses. If your project is only going to cost $1700 that is still an additional $100+ in tax. If your project involves a permit it will also involve an inspection, both those things cost $$$ so be sure to know that number BEFORE you get started.
Being up to code is no joke. Make yourself familiar with them. Inspectors will literally make you move walls if your new hallway is two inches too narrow. If you are doing a project in a room with a water source be sure your electrical outlets are over 3 feet away from the EDGE of the sink/tub or GFCI. Think about the range of space a door will take up when open. I could go on and on.
Make Peace with Your Limitations
There are some things you really should just leave to the professionals. Don’t mess with moving plumbing, gas lines, or any major electrical work without the proper education (youtube doesn’t count). There are other things you will just mentally, emotionally & physically exhaust yourself in attempting. I would be lying if I told you I never had a meltdown over sanding & mudding a ceiling in the late hours of the evening.
Ordering & Purchasing
Before you purchase anything, have a plan of where you are going to put it. Stuff for renovations has a way of magically multiplying & you don’t want your entire house looking like Home Depot. A garage, clean corner of your basement, extra storage room, whatever. Be mindful that everything you need may not be in stock or have a short lead time. Purchase things well in advance of when you actually need them.
Milestone Based Phases
We break up our remodeling projects into phases based on achieving milestones. For each phase, we list the 5-10+ tasks that need to be accomplished before we can start on the next phase. This helps break down the project into smaller, more manageable pieces & insures we have all the materials we need to take on the next step. We try to base our phases around when things are delivered or contractors are scheduled.
Divide & Conquer
Of the tasks listed out in each phase figure out who can do what, what aspects need multiple people/helpers, & what aspects require a professional. Depending on schedules, energy levels & resources it is good to know what tasks can be done individually.
Make It Fun
The remodeling process is A LOT of work, but it can also be a lot of fun! Make it a competition to see who can sand down a wall faster. Squeeze in a breakfast date before the first Home Depot run of the day. Get a little wine-drunk when you’re cleaning or painting (not when using power tools). Take time to soak in all the progress you are making with each step.
Last, But Not Least
Snap a ‘before’ photo! We ALWAYS forget to do ‘before’ photos and end up having to use pictures from when the house was originally purchased. If you can get all the shots/angles you want it makes it way easier to see the transformation!